Nucor Steel Arkansas and Nucor Yamato Steel, which operate steel mills near Blytheville, have filed suit in federal district court in Jonesboro to stop construction of the Big River Steel mill, an operation heavily subsidized by state and local tax money that's a venture by Nucor's former boss, John Correnti.
Plaintiffs today asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to uphold a lower court ruling that invalidated the 2013 voter ID law. They want a stay lifted so the law cannot be enforced for the November general election.
A remark by lame-duck Attorney General Dustin McDaniel on his belief that judges should be appointed rather than elected prompted articles on the issue today in both the Democrat-Gazette and at Stephens Media. Bottom line: Ain't going to happen.
Mike Maggio issued a statement today following his agreement that he'd violated judicial ethics rules sufficiently to be removed from the bench. He said he'd always treated people fairly. The record gave cause to question that.
In a press release issued Sunday, Faulkner County attorney David Hogue says that the office of Faulkner County Clerk Melinda Reynolds will refuse to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples this week. According to the press release from Hogue, the basis of Reynolds' refusal is three-fold, including the question of whether Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza has the authority to strike down a statewide law.
Circuit Judge Tim Fox, who last week struck down the 2013 Voter ID law because it unconstitutionally adds additional requirements to be eligible to vote, today again found the law unconstitutional in a separate case, but stayed his decision, citing the beginning of early voting on Monday. He said he didn't want to create turmoil at the polls.
A Paragould OBGYN accused of five counts of video voyeurism in a case in which a patient said he photographed her without her consent during an examination has seen his bond set at a half-million dollars. Dr. Paul Becton, Jr. 68, is currently being held in the Greene County Detention Center, and has been ordered to surrender his passport, have no contact with the alleged victim in the case, and to not travel outside the Second Judicial District without approval from the court if he bonds out of jail.
For the 10s of you following the state judicial eligibility saga, a quick note about this morning Arkansas Democrat-Gazette story that led with the finding that nearly a third of sitting judges in the state have been suspended for not paying their bar dues since 2006: Aside from serving as further evidence that judges are slackers like the rest of it, the story didn't tell us much.
A lengthy and sometimes moving hearing before Judge Chris Piazza today at the Pulaski County Courthouse, with the attorneys for the plaintiffs both sometimes choking back tears and they argued in favor of a motion for summary judgment in their challenge to Arkansas's ban on same-sex marriage, with Pulaski Co. Judge Chris Piazza says he will rule in two weeks' time on a motion for summary judgment that could overturn Arkansas's ban on same-sex marriage.
The Arkansas Supreme Court today denied the petition from Circuit Judge H.G. Foster asking the Court to settle the ongoing matter of what counts as a law-license suspension for judicial candidates once and for all.
Circuit Judge Sam Bird yesterday ruled that Circuit Judge Tim Fox is an eligible candidate for re-election. A lawsuit was filed earlier this month alleging that Fox should be disqualified because of a suspension in his law license in 2013 for failure to pay bar dues. The Arkansas Constitution requires judicial candidates to have been licensed attorneys in the state for six consecutive years prior to taking the seat (eight for Supreme Court judges). Bird ruled that an administrative suspension for late payment, unlike a punitive suspension for misconduct, would not disqualify a candidate.
Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox today ruled that the Republican Party of Arkansas will be able to help defend the state in a lawsuit over how to deal with absentee ballots under the state's Voter ID law passed by the Republican-controlled legislature last year almost completely on partisan lines, overriding Gov. Mike Beebe's veto.
Here's the ruling from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen finding that it's unconstitutional to automatically suspend the law license of an attorney (in the case for non-payment of dues) without giving a chance for the attorney to contest the suspension. Griffen declared the automatic suspensions unconstitutional on Wednesday and released his 18-page ruling yesterday.
In Bull Shoals, sitting police chief Dan Sutterfield has been ordered by a federal judge to live with the town's mayor, Bruce Powell, as a condition of his release from jail after Sutterfield was arrested on FBI allegations that he hit, kicked and tased a handcuffed suspect.. Powell says he will not ask Sutterfield to step down.
All seven Arkansas Supreme Court justices have paid their annual bar fees late in the past. Two justices, Justice Karen Baker and Justice Courtney Hudson Henry, failed to pay their annual dues within eight years of joining the Court. That time window may be significant because Amendment 80 of the Arkansas Constitution requires Supreme Court justices to be licensed attorneys at least eight years immediately preceding the date they assumed office.
Two people were killed with two trains collided near Hwy. 67 early this morning, and State Police are evacuating residents of the southern end of the city while the trains burn. U.S. 67 south of Hoxie and U.S. 63 are closed. The trains were carrying hazardous chemicals.
Give Arkansas a Raise Now, the group seeking to qualify a ballot measure to raise the state minimum wage from $6.25 to $8.50 an hour by 2017, turned in an additional 69,070 signatures to the Arkansas Secretary of State's office today.
American Bridge, the liberal PAC formed by David Brock, the former Clinton foe now dedicated to round-the-clock Hillary Clinton defender, is out today with a new report on environmental impacts and layoffs from Koch Industries. The report focuses on the business activities of the Koch brothers — more famous for hundreds of millions in political spending aimed at slashing government services, regulation and taxes — in twelve states, including Arkansas. From the report: "The Kochs' extreme, self-serving agenda is bad for working families. And that reality is starkly embodied not only by their political persuasions, but by their business endeavors."
Ceramicist Barbara Satterfield, one of the Arkansas Times' "Visionaries" in 2013, has announced the creation of a touring, interactive sculpture exhibit that will be installed in public places in Helena, Heber Springs, Dardanelle and Warren before the final exhibition at the Cox Creative Center.